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Concrete and paving glossary - M

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An aggregate used in heavy weight concrete, consisting primarily of ferrous metaferrite (Fe 304). A black magnetic iron ore with a specific gravity of approximately 5.2 and a Mohs hardness of about 6. See aggregate.


One who builds with brick, stones, concrete masonry units, or concrete. See concrete masonry units and concrete.


Construction composed of shaped or molded units, usually small enough to be handled by one man and composed of stone, ceramic brick, or tile, concrete, glass, adobe, or the like. The term masonry is sometimes used to designate cast-in-place concrete.

Masonry cement

A mill-mixed mortar to which sand and water must be added. A Portland cement with dry admixtures designed to increase the workability of the mortar. See Portland cement.

Mass concrete

Any volume of concrete with dimensions large enough to require that measures be taken to cope with generation of heat from hydration of the cement and attendant volume change, to minimize cracking. See heat of hydration.


The curing and hardening of construction materials such as concrete, plaster, and mortar. See curing.


A heavy mallet with an oversized wooden head used for driving wood takes, pegs, or wedges into the ground or in other applications where material might sustain damage if struck with a conventional sledgehammer. It is also referred to as a "beetle".

Maximum size aggregate

Aggregate whose largest particle size is present in sufficient quantity to affect the physical properties of concrete; generally designated by the sieve size on which the maximum amount permitted to be retained is 5 or 10 percent by weight.

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Membrane curing

A process of controlling the curing of concrete by sealing in the moisture that would be lost to evaporation. The process is accomplished either by spraying a sealer on the surface or by covering the surface with a sheet film.


A general term referring to the combined ingredients of concrete or mortar. Examples might be a five-bag mix, a lean mix, or a 3,000-psi mix. See concrete mixture.


Equipment used for mixing or blending the materials used in the manufacture of concrete, grout, or mortar.

Mixing speed

Rate of mixer drum rotation or that of the paddles in a pan, open-top, or trough type mixer, when mixing a batch; expressed in revolutions per minute (rpm) or in peripheral feet per minute of a point on the circumference at maximum diameter.

Mixing time

For stationary mixers, mixing time is calculated in minutes from the completion of charging the mixer until the beginning of discharge. For a truck mixer, time is calculated in total minutes at a specified mixing speed. The period during which materials used in a batch of concrete are combined by the mixer.


A plain or reinforced mass of concrete cast as a single, one piece, integral structure.

Monolithic surface treatment

A concrete finish obtained by shaking a dry mixture of cement and sand on a concrete slab after strike-off, then troweling it into the surface. See strike off and troweling.


A mixture of cement (or lime) with sand and water used in masonry work.

Mortar board

A mason's hand tool used to hold small amounts of material that is typically being applied to a vertical surface with a hand trowel. It is often used in patching and finish work. The mortar board is a square flat piece of wood or metal with a handle placed in its center on the bottom side.


Slang term for cement or mortar.

Mud slab

A base slab of low-strength concrete from 2" to 6" thick placed over a wet subbase before placing a concrete footing or grade slab.


A hand-held or machine mounted device used to shape concrete by dragging or pressing it over the form boards. This device is commonly used in curb and gutter work. See curb and gutter.


The unacceptable occurrence when the top of a caisson concrete pier spreads out and hardens to become wider than the foundation wall thickness. See caisson.

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